ANALYSIS: New Treasury figures betray the Lansley hospital starvation strategy

Slog accused him, now PESA figures condemn him

Regular Sloggers will be aware of this site’s conviction that pushing yet more money at the primary care sector of the NHS, and reducing hospital funds still further, was an obvious ploy by Andrew Lansley to make it almost inevitable that hospitals would become insolvent – and could then be sold at a knockdown price to private providers eager to get their hands on cutting-edge hardware.

The new PESA figures released last week have been closely examined by some in the MSM, and found unremarkable aside from George Osborne’s policy of ‘underspending’ becoming more noticeable. But the nhs underspend tells an important story of its own. For while the gp side of things has mopped up every penny, the hospital expenditure (much of it capital investment) has been underspent by £1.72 billion.

That is three times the underspend of any other Ministry, and four times more than the average. Anyone who has used nhs hospital services this year and last could give you chapter and verse on how underfunded the service so obviously is…as well as the wasteful ‘pennypinching’ approach to many therapies that winds up costing more in the end because of late diagnosis.

Yet a health service with hospital Trust margins under pressure throughout Britain mainaged to underspend the budget.

In the two years since his ‘election’ in May 2010, David Cameron has yet to keep his promise to spend more in real terms on the NHS each year. Dissembling and perfidy are par for the course in government these days, but this is a particularly brazen example of it. As I posted at the start of May, the Lansley refrain would be, “starve the hospitals of funds, and then wring your hands and say look, they’re broke – we have to sell them”. Last June 27th, South London Healthcare went into administration. Eleven days earlier, The Slog asserted:

‘Two years into his mealy-mouthed plan to simply suck all the NHS’s hospital money out and then sell that infrastructure off, Andrew Lansley is on the verge of letting every Hank, Richard and Henri bid to take over larger group-practice primary care. Give it another year, and almost every Foundation Trust hospital-service provider will be in financial trouble…at which point the private sector will get what it wants – the massive taxpayer investment in hitech equipment and buildings – in a fire sale.’

Like so many issues in 2012, most people are only half-awake to what’s going on: and with Olympic media-mania moving into sixth gear, these kinds of things just slip through quietly on the nod.

Only later (uusually too late) does the Left hold pointless mass demonstrations to demand a stop to something that’s already happened. Here is a golden opportunity with cast-iron figures going to waste.

Could it be, one wonders, that the Hard Left would rather have the ugly scenes and the fights than an effective way to block this sort of privatisation?